IT’S a crucial year for small and micro businesses now being drawn into the Government’s staff auto enrolment pension programme, says Jeremy Leslie-Smith, of The Pensions Regulator.
He told Swindon Auto Enrolment Support group that although the amount of penalties for non-compliance had gone up, they hadn’t increased in proportion to the numbers of employers starting their AE schemes.
An estimated 750,000 employers are due to start their AE duties this year, he said, adding that if an employer made a mistake, they were given time to put it right..
“Between July and September last year compliance notices were issued more often, as employers left things to the last minute, but once given a nudge employers complied,” he said.
“Less than five per cent of compliance notices progressed to an escalating penalty notice.”
Nicki Goddard-Dady who chairs the group, which is attended by professionals involved in payroll, independent financial advisers, HR professionals and accountants, said: “Since auto enrolment started in 2012, some seven million employees have been enrolled. But now we are reaching the very small businesses
“It is these smaller ones, who often have one person doing the payroll, and perhaps only a handful of employees, who are likely to be caught out through not setting up a scheme properly.”
Nicki, a partnership manager at Pensionsync, which provides free software to streamline the process of AE and pension administration, said: “For some it is a case of remembering to send off their declaration of compliance, which has to be done within five months of the staging date – it is surprising how many business owners are forgetting to do this.”
Richard Mathews, managing director at Regulatory Accounting – part of the RFS group – said: “Auto enrolment is a major change for the way employers run their businesses, and it is some of the smaller ones in particular – now being drawn into the system – which may struggle with ensuring they do everything correctly and remain compliant.”
Regulatory Accounting provides bookkeeping and payroll services to clients. For help and advice on auto enrolment visit www.regaccounting.co.uk.